Aims & Scope
The book series, sponsored by the Department of Asian and North African Studies through the Marco Polo Research Centre for Global Europe-Asia Connections, is designed to publish up-to-date research that is supported by the Centre. In dialogue with the intellectual tradition of the Centre, our research interests are vast, spanning manifold spaces (from Japan to the Mediterranean Sea), times (from Neolithic times to today, and possibly the future), and themes (from modern geopolitics to religious identities to climate change to archaeological sites), with particular attention to trans-Eurasian interactions. This emphasis on intercultural contact and exchange, especially at the crossroads of the ostensible European-Asian divide, is evoked through the title of the series: indeed, Marco Polo travelled all the way from Venice to Beijing at the end of the 13th century, engaging with many different political contexts, nations, and civilisations along the land and sea routes later jointly known as the Silk Road (or, better, Silk Roads). This concept, with its underlying reference to the exchange of things and ideas across societies, is a historical phenomenon of great significance associated with a distant past; however, the spectre of the Silk Road(s) has never rested. The People’s Republic of China announced the ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ (now known as the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’) in 2013. In other words, the distant historical traditions of the Silk Road(s) continue to penetrate discursive reality in our own day and age. Globalisation – with its various and contradictory connotations – is an overarching motif that links the Silk Roads of the past and the present. Inspired by the famous Venetian merchant, our book series prioritises studies that are inquisitive, bold, and dynamic, with a preference for transcultural and interdisciplinary studies. We welcome manuscripts that are grounded in rigorous scholarship and speak to international academic conversations within and across diverse disciplines, including history, international relations, economics, environmental studies, literature, languages, archaeology, art history, philosophy, religion, anthropology, geography, music, social sciences, and the digital humanities. The books in this series will focus on specific research topics but will range from single-authored monographs to edited volumes with multiple authors, each contributing a chapter to an organically conceived whole.